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Old Nov 28, 2011, 6:53 PM   #1
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Default Superzoom, DSLR, EVIL?

I am swimming in so much information that I just can't decide what I want, so looking for reccomendations from people with hands on experience. WARNING: This is long!

The situation:

I love taking photos and looking at my pictures. I display both digitally (on my 28" monitor) and make large prints for wall framing. The things I love taking pictures of most are wildlife and landscapes.

Up till now, I've gotten by with a (then-new) Panny FZ28. I've recently purchased a Canon S100 which I love love love. I have a Panny tz1 (sz1? the first model, without HD) which I found ineffective in even moderately low light. Prior to going digital I also used my canon film rebel quite a bit.

So now:

I am going to the galapagos in March. Trip of a lifetime, yadda yadda. Lots of animals, woot! S100 is definiteloy coming with me, but at 5x / 150mm or so, I'd love something with some more reach. I can spend up to about $1500 to get a second cam to take if necessary - possibly more if there's a really compelling reason. (Ie, if "just a little more" gets me a sizeable upgrade in camera and/or lenses.

Cameras I've found/considered so far:

panasonic fz150 - love my panny superzoon, so why wouldn't I love it's grandchild which is really well reviewed?

canon sx40 - canon version. greater reach in zoom.

canon 550d or 600d - plus a telephoto lens. Though I have no idea what lenses; kit lenses don't appear to be reviewed well.

Canon 60d - more pricey, still would have to figure out lenses

NEX - 5n - hate that it doesn't have a viewfinder, but seems to get great reviews and perhaps I'd adapt? Also love the smaller footprint.

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So the question... what should I get? I realize this is wide open, but I really am having trouble deciding. Do I go with a superzoom, which will give me less good IQ and (i assume) less speed / less in focus shots of wildlife? But is cheaper and smaller with good reach? Or do I go DSLR or EVIL and, if so, how do I find out what good lenses are worth the cost?

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Man. This is long. I suppose the question is... if you were in my shoes, knowing whatever you individually know about cameras you've had experience with, what would you buy with the budget I have in mind?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 28, 2011, 8:49 PM   #2
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have you considered the Fuji HS20? I used it eariler this summer at the Atlanta zoom to take picture of animals for several hours and was very happy with the results. I found at the zoom I was in the 400 - 500mm range a lot.

Also if you go the D-SLR route understand that to get a good wildlife lens (and I understand you don't like the kit zoom lenses which means you want a high quality zoom len) it is going to cost you a good amount of money just for the long lens (and then you have to factor in batteries, the bodies and possibility memory cards.

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Old Nov 28, 2011, 9:12 PM   #3
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The selection of AF lenses for the Sony NEX-5N is pretty slim. If you want a long lens, this one's out.

But a suitable substitute might be the Sony A580, A55 or A35, with the Sony 70-300 'G', or Tamron 70-300 SP USD.
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Old Nov 29, 2011, 2:05 AM   #4
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Don't know why a superzoom camera would give less in focus shots? The main drawback to those cameras is the lack of nice RAW images for post processing. If you like to browse, links to more threads -

http://forums.steves-digicams.com//s...d.php?t=176086

http://forums.steves-digicams.com//s...d.php?t=182718

http://forums.steves-digicams.com//s...d.php?t=190775

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Old Nov 29, 2011, 3:41 AM   #5
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hi and welcome I think trip of a life time canon 550d, money saved gets a 70-300 lens and job done
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Old Nov 29, 2011, 5:21 AM   #6
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If I was going to the Galapagos I would probably take the best bridge camera out there- just for convenience's sake alone- think of all those opportunities you may miss whilst changing lenses on an DSLR..! Believe me- it happens...!
If you were shooting for National Geographic,then you'd be set for hours in a portable hide armed with your SLR- but I suspect this is not how you'll be spending your holiday.
Even since the days of the FZ28,the quality of photo's achievable with a bridge camera has vastly improved- most notably in lower noise levels and low light capability.
Yes- the DSLR is capable of achieving better overall results- but the gap in IQ is a great deal lower than it used to be- and you'd only really notice the difference at extremely challenging exposures and/or very high iso settings.
Can you imagine the size of DSLR kit- and the weight- just to compete with the zoom range of say the Canon SX40HS... never mind the expense..!!
The Panasonic FZ150 is arguably an even more compelling proposition than the Canon- in that it can also shoot RAW,focuses very fast,can shoot a 12fps burst or 5.5fps with autofocus,nice 3" articulated screen and a very competent video mode(unlike some poor focusing video modes on SLR's!!) and the ability to attach remotes/microphones etc...
The Canon SX40 has the extra 240mm reach,and marginally better low light capability- but you could get a good quality tele-converter for the Panasonic to surpass the Canon's range..!
I recently sold my Canon 20D with a Tamron 18-270mm VR lens attached to finance a purchase of my SX40hs- and I'm glad I did...!!
Very versatile camera with good overall IQ,in an package that you can practically put it in a large coat pocket...!!
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Old Nov 29, 2011, 8:05 AM   #7
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Also- bearing in mind you're leaving in March- this promising looking beast will probably be out then....!
http://www.dpreview.com/news/2011/11/24/fujifilmxs1

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Old Nov 29, 2011, 1:38 PM   #8
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G'day ZG

If I were doing the trip you describe ... I would be chasing one of two things

> going down the dSLR route, it would be to add the Siggy 150-500 lens to the existing Pentax > ie- $1100 + the camera at $700 [tho I already have the camera ... it's mostly used as a paperweight]
> going down the superzoom path, it would be any of the FZ150 or HS20 or SX40 [I am a panny user, so use the FZ100 at the moment] > ie- $500 - $700

From experience in travelling [I travel for about 6-8 months each year] I have a big need for small / light / convenience etc in cameras & lenses, as well as the knowledge of changing lenses, dust, extra weight, storage ... so for me the superzoom would win hands down

As you state that the little canon is going with you - make it easy for yourself and select a superzoom that fits your eyes/hands etc and whose menu is easy to operate

Regards, Phil
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Old Nov 29, 2011, 2:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCook View Post
Don't know why a superzoom camera would give less in focus shots? The main drawback to those cameras is the lack of nice RAW images for post processing. If you like to browse, links to more threads -

http://forums.steves-digicams.com//s...d.php?t=176086

http://forums.steves-digicams.com//s...d.php?t=182718

http://forums.steves-digicams.com//s...d.php?t=190775

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Every bridge camera I've owned (and I've owned a few!) has been RAW-capable.
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Old Nov 29, 2011, 2:53 PM   #10
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I have a Sony A55 with a Sony 18-250mm zoom lens. Its 35mm equivalent zoom range is from 27-375mm. I think you could have a similar setup with a Canon or a Pentax or Nikon, etc. However, if it were me going on a once in a lifetime trip, I would pick a bridge camera like the Panasonic FZ150 the Canon SX40 or even Sony HX100v. They are much lighter and have more range than you will get with a DSLR and any decent zoom lens over 300mm. I had the SX35 and it was great except in low light. The SX40 is supposed to be much better in low light. The FZ150 is decent in low light and a great burst mode. The Sony HX100v is supposed to be really easy to use and has great video.
But I am not the OP. Different people focus on different things and have different standards for acceptable image quality.
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